Home is sweet for Monroe
Mustangs make the most as Nationals host
By Gary Axelbank
BRONX, NEW YORK, MARCH 10- The Monroe Mustangs men's and women's teams were at the forefront of history as they hosted the 2014 NJCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships at the New Balance Track and Field Center at the Armory in Manhattan this past weekend. It was the first time the NJCAA has held the track and field championships not only in the city, but on the east coast.
Though many of the more than 600 athletes from 74 teams representing 14 states said they had never competed in the world's most famous indoor track facility, much less visited NY, there were comfortable smiles on the faces of Mustangs athletes as they entered the very-familiar Armory on Friday.
"This is our home, this is where we practice every day," said assistant coach Shirvon Greene. "We are proud hosts and came ready to do our best."
Numerous Mustangs achieved All-American status and one of Monroe's best performances came right away. The meet touched off with the distance medley relay on Friday afternoon and the Monroe men (Ronaldo Ball, Walter Penate,Alexshandro Rodriguez, and Katleho Dyoyi) set a school record, finishing third in a time of 10:08:17.
On Saturday South African freshman Sabelo Ndlovu finished third in the triple jump, launching 15.29m (50.02').
Also, the women's 4x400 team of Shanice Cameron, Ashley Mandat, Sarah Atcho and Jessica Barrera turned in another of the Monroe inspirational performances of the weekend, finishing sixth. Their 3:51:61 set a new Monroe school record.
"This was a full weekend of Mustang pride," said head coach Mark Goodman. "It was kind of amazing to bring an event of this magnitude to New York. But I have to give our athletes credit. Despite the potential for distraction, for the large part, they stayed focused and performed well. This was a wonderful weekend for the college and for all the coaches and athletes who came to New York City to compete."
In the much anticipated men's 1000m, the so-called 'Legion of Doom' (so-named by Coach Greene) featuring top ranked Ronaldo Ball and Dyoyi, the Monroe duo ran neck-and-neck finishing fourth (Ball – 2:27:92) and fifth (Dyoyi – 2:27:98). Remarkably only .06 of a second separated the two Mustangs.
Dyoyi also ran the mile finishing seventh overall with a time of 4:15:72.
Monroe's Christopher Belcher placed eighth in the 200m dash, breaking the school record in the prelims with his 21.42. In the men's 600m Joel Johnson finished sixth with school record time of 1:21.01.
Teammate Tresean Goodwin took sixth-place in the 400m, running in 48.76.
The men's 4x800m Relay consisting of Alexshandro Rodriguez, Lashley Winter, Shea Coltrain and Javaun Grant placed fifth with a time of 7:54:75 which is a new school record.
In the women's 200m, Monroe's Sarah Atcho ran a wonderful 24:39, good for second place in Friday's prelims. In the finals on Saturday, she was a notch better, running a new school record in 24:30, which was good for fourth place.
Another piece of Monroe history was set at this year's Nationals as freshman Rashema Briscoe became Monroe's first-ever pentathalete. She placed 10th.
Also, Damon Daniels ran his first ever 600m in 1:21.45 and finished tenth and Rashad Ramsey also ran a personal best (1.22.02).
In the women's 400m run, Jessica Barrera finished ninth overall in her fastest time of the season, 57.67
"We knew that it would be a really special thing to have all the teams from around the country come to New York City," said Coach Goodman, "and the people here will have a very wonderful perspective of what the college is about and what we do here."